British Pathé releases 85,000 films on YouTube

YouTube release

Newsreel archive British Pathé has uploaded its entire collection of 85,000 historic films, in high resolution, to its YouTube channel. This unprecedented release of vintage news reports and cinemagazines is part of a drive to make the archive more accessible to viewers all over the world.

“Our hope is that everyone, everywhere who has a computer will see these films and enjoy them,” says Alastair White, General Manager of British Pathé. “This archive is a treasure trove unrivalled in historical and cultural significance that should never be forgotten. Uploading the films to YouTube seemed like the best way to make sure of that.”

British Pathé was once a dominant feature of the British cinema experience, renowned for first-class reporting and an informative yet uniquely entertaining style. It is now considered to be the finest newsreel archive in existence. Spanning the years from 1896 to 1976, the collection includes footage – not only from Britain, but from around the globe – ofmajor events, famous faces, fashion trends, travel, sport and culture. The archive is particularly strong in its coverage of the First and Second World Wars.

Alastair White continues: “Whether you’re looking for coverage of the Royal Family, the Titanic, the destruction of the Hindenburg, or quirky stories about British pastimes, it’ll be there on our channel. You can lose yourself for hours.”

This project is being managed by German company Mediakraft, which has been responsible for numerous past YouTube successes. The company will be creating new content using British Pathé material, in English and in foreign languages.

You can view and share films from this invaluable resource here.

Author: British Pathé

British Pathé holds the world's finest newsreel collection. We also represent the Reuters historical collection. All 220K films are viewable on our website.

152 thoughts on “British Pathé releases 85,000 films on YouTube”

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  2. Where can I find information about the licensing of these videos? The blog BoingBoing is reporting that you use Creative Commons licenses but on your website “about” page it says “all rights reserved” and asks people to contact you about licenses.

    1. Hello! sharing the YouTube video is absolutely fine and free of charge. But if you want to extract the film from the YouTube player or edit it in some way, you’d require a licence. This can be acquired via info@britishpathe.com / +44 [0]20 7665 8340. The licensing team would need to know where the footage would be shown, in what territories, and how long for. All best BP.

      1. I don’t understand your reply; are these videos still covered by some copyright or not? It is very clear that their age more than likely places them into the Public Domain in most nations. There is a possibility, based on a timely renewal, some copyrights are still intact. However, a quick search of copyright renewals returns no renewals under any names, both for titles and for authors. If you do believe these are protected please do include the copyright registration numbers, or corporate author’s name, if they were ever registered. Alternatively, please post at the very least, your reasoning as to why (dates and such details) they are still under copyright protection.

      2. Hi Jarvis, under UK law, copyright expires 70 years after the death of the director or producer. If a film was made in 1919 and we assume the director was 20 at the very least, and died at only 60, copyright on that film would not expire until 2029. So in fact our archive is not yet in the public domain.

    1. Hi George – sharing the YouTube video is absolutely fine and free of charge. But if you want to extract the film from the YouTube player or edit it in some way, you’d require a licence. This can be acquired via info@britishpathe.com / +44 [0]20 7665 8340. The licensing team would need to know where the footage would be shown, in what territories, and how long for. All best BP.

      1. I don’t understand your reply; are these videos still covered by some copyright or not? It is very clear that their age more than likely places them into the Public Domain in most nations. There is a possibility, based on a timely renewal, some copyrights are still intact. However, a quick search of copyright renewals returns no renewals under any names, both for titles and for authors. If you do believe these are protected please do include the copyright registration numbers, or corporate author’s name, if they were ever registered. Alternatively, please post at the very least, your reasoning as to why (dates and such details) they are still under copyright protection.

      2. Hi Jarvis, under UK law, copyright expires 70 years after the death of the director or producer. If a film was made in 1919 and we assume the director was 20 at the very least, and died at only 60, copyright on that film would not expire until 2029. So in fact our archive is not yet in the public domain.

  3. That’s a lot of wonderful content. There’s an opportunity for crowd-sourcing with a process. How do we help you fixing the missing and erroneous legends?

  4. Reblogged this on Open Jotter and commented:
    I’ve been looking at some of these films. They provide a fascinating insight into life in the UK, although the footage of the Hindenburg disaster still strikes fear in me. I remember seeing the Hollywood version of the film as a child and the thought that anyone escaped that fire amazed me.

    Thanks for releasing all the footage. It’s a real public service for us history geeks.

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  6. My wishes:
    – Creative Commons License for all of them!
    – A proper TORRENT release, so it can in total be spread worldwide

    Or are you paid by Google (who owns Youtube)? Seems like it would drive a lot of traffic to youtube…..

    I wish it would all be free and creative commons without the corporate control!

  7. this is just like going back into the history in atime machine… it’s a wonderful experience………

  8. Great ressource but need explanations about possibles use. I’m a french teacher. Can i use this videos in my classroom playing them in youtube?

  9. A estratégia de criação de conteúdos de qualidade direcionada para um público-fim essencial, enquanto bem aplicada, atrai multidões e também tem conseguir deconquistar não exclusivamente fregueses porém fãs para sua marca, seus produtos ou serviços.

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